This page is under construction
This page is under construction
and other inspirational prints at Blue Bar, Honolulu, July-September 2017
Inspiration everywhere – review of the exhibit in the Honolulu Staradvertiser 8.25.17
Dieter Runge’s art exhibit aims to motivate with a bit of humor – by Nina Wu
Art, Rock’n Roll music, Ayurveda, tai chi, yoga and cooking – are all part of Honolulu Printmakers artist Dieter Runge’s identity.
And all are the impetus behind his latest exhibit “ALLOW – CREATE – LOVE and other inspirational prints,” up through Sept. 29 at the Blue Bar on Merchant St in in downtown Honolulu.
Since early July, his colorful woodblock prints on cards with inspirational messages such as “B Kind,” “Courage,” “4Give” and “This Too Will Pass” have been on display on the walls around the coffee shop. Runge says they were created with “consciousness and love” in his art studio in Kaneohe.
“Those cards come, really out of my daily, spiritual practice,” he said. “Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and then reading and thinking about all these things over many years.”
Runge grew up in Germany and lived in New York City, where he recorded and produced several vinyl records before moving to Hawaii in 1990. He holds a master’s of fine art in painting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and goes kitesurfing when the conditions are ideal.
The idea behind this exhibit is to offer uplifting messages with some elements of humor and references to music. The word “ALLOW” for instance, reminds us that “sometimes all we have to do is step back, relax and allow the good things in life to come to us,” he said.
The prints come from a multilayered block printing process, with the words originally carved in reverse on a quarter-inch-thick plywood, printed on top of a test print that was cut up and combined to create the images. They are available on 5-by-7-inch folded cards at Blue Bar for $10 each.
HONOLULU, HI – Popular Downtown coffee spot Brue Bar will host a reception for the opening of Allow – Create – Love and other inspirational prints, a new exhibit by O‘ahu based artist, Dieter Runge. The reception will be held on First Friday, July 7th, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Brue Bar, 119 Merchant Street. This event is open to the public and is free of charge. Light pupus and refreshments will be served.
Allow – Create – Love and other inspirational prints features unique woodblock prints with inspirational messages. These prints are mounted on folded cardstock, with envelopes in clear folio. Some are scanned at 3200 dpi and digitally printed and enlarged, revealing entirely new dimensions of detail.
Dieter’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions across Hawai‘i, the U.S. mainland, and Hong Kong. This is his second exhibit of work at Brue Bar. His previous show was the well-received Rock n’ Roll Revelation in 2014.
Allow – Create – Love and other inspirational prints will be on display through September at Brue Bar’s Merchant Street location.
ABOUT BRUE BAR
Brue Bar has been serving hand-crafted coffee beverages within the iconic Stangenwald Building since its launch in 2013. The cosmopolitan Downtown setting and unique design sensibility makes it the ideal location for work, study and conversation. Brue Bar’s distinctive character and array of teas and coffees can also be found at 1164 Bishop Street, and will soon make its return to Kaka‘ako. Brue Bar is part of the HONBLUE family of companies, who have been delivering innovative solutions to Hawaii’s creative design community for 50 years.
ABOUT HONOLULU PRINTMAKERS
Honolulu Printmakers is a non-profit organization which promotes the appreciation and understanding of printmaking and print production. Established in 1928, we are supported by our members, corporations in our community, and state and private foundations. Honolulu Printmakers provides the community with a variety of programs and services including exhibits, studio space, and education.
Below: Invitation card to exhibit and installation views.
Energetics of Food and Eating
This essay is partially a translation from Pollozek/Behringer’s excellent book “The Timeless Ayurvedic Kitchen – Healing Power of Our Food,” (in German) combined with my own experience of ayurvedic cooking and yogic lifestyle. After I left my parents house and lived in communes during the time of the 70’s counterculture, I had become aware of macrobiotics, brown rice and growing your own food and even during my rock’n roll years in New York I shopped mostly at farmer’s markets, yet only when I began my studies of yoga and ayurveda with Myra Lewin, have I learned about the deep healing powers of our food and how we handle and eat it. Ayurveda is the oldest medicine system that we know of, comparable to the better known Traditional Chinese Medicine in its completeness. It is not an abstract concept but is applied differently to each person taking in account their unique combination of the elements of air, water, earth, fire and ether in a particular time and space called the doshas.
Ayurveda defines health as:
The three energetic doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha are in balance.
The metabolism/digestion functions well.
The tissues are healthy and well developed and the waste is adequately moved out.
The sense and touch organs work properly.
The soul and spirit are in a state of permanent happiness.
Sushruta Samahita, 15.38, 1 Century BC
Only when our stomach is empty, when our previous meal is digested and we have a natural feeling of hunger should we eat. The stomach should only be filled half with food, one quarter with liquids from the juices of the food or some water (at least room temperature), the last quarter should remain empty. If you don’t eat too fast and pay attention you will notice a small burb forming in your stomach. This is a sign that anything you eat after this signal is not digestable, turns into toxins and eventually disease. After a while you will feel this even before the burb forms. Later you will intuitively put just the right amount of food on your plate. You feel satisfied, neither hungry nor tired.
The signs of adequate amounts of food are:
No pressure, pain in your stomach, sides or heart area;
No feelings of hunger or thirst;
No feeling of heaviness or tiredness;
The senses and the spirit are relaxed, strengthened and satisfied;
A light and pleasant feeling. The German word is “Sättigungsgefühl”. There is no direct translation that I could find. It is a feeling of satisfaction specific to eating.
Avoid foods that have little or no energy (Prana, Mana, Chi)
De-naturalised foods, reheated leftovers (It is best to take leftovers out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature naturally. 24 hrs is the experation date. Frozen, microwaved, canned, fast food or foods with added chemicals, refined foods like sugar ionized salts, too much animal proteins, refined sweets, white flower, zero fat products, too much caffeine or alcohol.
Healthy foods are oily, warm, fresh and easily digested. Raw food is very popular today, but is very difficult or impossible to digest for most people. There is much literature on the ayurvedic perspective on raw food.
It is preferable to eat organic produce that is grown in the region you live. Especially grains, milk and everything that grows in the earth should be organic. Support small farms and cooperatives or grow some of your own food, which is especially satisfying. Every time food is cooled or reheated it loses energy that the body needs in order to digest it.
The food should fit your specific constitution (your dosha), your digestive fire and your preferences. Each person has a different metabolism, the ability to digest varies depending on appetite, time of year, mood, intuition and age.
Eat in a place that has a calm and clean atmosphere without too much distraction. Avoid TV, electronics, driving or too much talk. A golden rule is: everything you do with consciousness and joy is good; everything you do with resistance and unconsciousness will create problems. When we eat with consciousness our taste receptors send out specific enzymes fitting what we eat. The meal becomes satisfying. Unconscious eating leads to a loss in digestive activity. As a result we develop cravings, excessive eating and ama, waste products in our digestive tracts, which eventually leads to disease.
Eat with people who are sympathetic to you. The food should be prepared with love. Restaurants are especially difficult. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? I have for many years and now chose carefully. A meal that is prepared with love and attention will satisfy your body and soul.
4. What is important before you eat?
Wash your hands and ideally face and feet. Only eat when you are hungry.
Pay attention to your right nostril. It shows how strong your agni, digestive fire, is. If it is blocked breathe deeply for a minute through your right nostril only. A great digestive help is a slice or small pyramid of chopped ginger with some salt and lime. It starts the digestive fire, agni.
If Kapha is out of balance or if you are overweight it is ok to drink something before and during a meal. It is best not to drink for 45 min to an hour after a meal in order not to weaken your agni.
Take a moment to slow down and go inward, bless the food, the farmers, the company or anything else you like. Loosen the relationship between your ego and the food as object that you own.
5. What is important after eating?
It is best not to sleep, study, have sex, a deep bath for two hours after eating, don’t engage in sports or heavy physical work for one hour. All these activities lead to undigested food, ama. A short silent acknowledgment of the meal is helpful. It is ok to eat a few fennel seeds or clean your mouth with your tongue or a toothpick but brushing your teeth immediately after a meal is not recommended. Urinating is good – to provoke elimination is not.
Vata and Pitta types can rest a little while Kapha types should walk “1 000” steps to help their more sluggish digestion.
6. How should we eat?
Keep the food hot for only three to four hours. That is better than reheating. It is ok to leave leftover that you cooked for lunch at room temperature and eat it for dinner. This does not apply to fish or meat.
Every meal should stimulate all senses. Eating with your hands involves the sense of taste and leads to slower and less eating.
A disturbed, tense or tired mind affects appetite and agni. Chew each bite with consciousness and as much as possible. It is ok to drink small sips of warm water. Ice water is not recommended.
7. Avoid certain combinations of food. They can be toxic.
This topic affords an entire chapter of its own, to follow.
8. When should we eat?
It is best to eat at regular times. Then your digestive system will work like clockwork. The appetite as well as the digestion will be right there for you. Too short or too long a time between meals are not good. 4-5 hours is ok, but 6 is too long. It leads to digestive disturbances and indigestion.
Breakfast is best between 7:00 and 8:30 AM
Regular intervals are important:
Vata: 3-4 hrs/depending on work/activity a small snack is ok.
Pitta: 4-5 hrs/depending on work/activity one small snack is ok.
Kapha: 5-6 hrs/ no snack
Lunch should be the main meal between 11:00 and 2:00
The strength of the sun matches the strength of the digestion. The body is ready to take in a larger amount of food and to metabolize it. Do not miss lunch. It will ruin your health in the long run. Raw food, fish, meat, eggs are best eaten at this time and not for dinner.
Dinner is best eaten before sunset 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Best foods are cooked vegetables, soups, stews, grains, legumes. These foods enhance digestion and longevity. To eat at night challenges the liver, blood and colon. Dinner should be eaten 2-3 hrs befor bed time.
Generally do not eat before the last meal is digested.
9. How should meals be prepared?
All six tastes steer our psyche. Enough oil stimulates the gallbladder. If all six tastes are present eating disorders and binging attacks are rare. The food should be natural and balanced, if it is not balanced spices are used to enhance, balance and add energy. Specific ways of cooking can make cool ingredients warmer, lighter foods heavier and vice versa. The doshas, age and time of year should be considered. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent.
10. Who eats how? The consciousness of eating.
The eater is more important than the food. Recognize and learn about your specific constitution. Then you know what is good for you and what not. Use your intuition, but be able to discriminate between intuition and craving. We often follow our cravings and ignore our intuition. Eat only what you like and what you can digest.
Never eat when you are too emotional or not hungry. In these states your body is in flight or fight mode and not able to eat or digest. Never eat when you are angry, depressed, sad, too excited, bored or to swallow stacked up emotions. Even the best food, eaten during emotional stress turns into ama.
Eat with respect and consciousness of what nature provides you with, then even a badly prepared meal can be good.
Alexander Pollozek & Dominik Behringer, Die Zeitlose Ayurvedische Küche – Heilkraft unserer Nahrung, 2012 Narayana Verlag, 3rd Edition 2013
“Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it had a Category 3 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale–it brought sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour–and stretched some 400 miles across. The storm itself did a great deal of damage, but its aftermath was catastrophic. Levee breaches led to massive flooding, and many people charged that the federal government was slow to meet the needs of the people affected by the storm (History.com).”
At this moment I was a graduate student in painting at the University of Hawaii. I had also lived through hurricanes Hugo in the Virgin Island (1989) and Iniki in Hawaii (1992) and been in a band called The New York Niggers, a mixed racial band 1978-80. After I had been kicked out Hollis Hotel on 48th and 8th for lack of funds a group of black guys took me into their loft on 474 Greenwich St. Yes, I am white and I am not even an American citizen. This is my history and the context, but what caused me to paint this image besides the fact that political, economic or natural disasters always hit the poor the hardest, is the power that came through this image, the Kendrix family sitting in squalid conditions in the New Orleans Super Dome, more or less abandoned by the government but for this moment wrapping them selves in the American Flag, a blanket re-presenting the flag actually, the powerful symbol of the nation that had oppressed them over and over. Instantly, I knew I needed to paint it. Taking out all color except the red and blue was what the image told me. Eventually I earned a scholarship from this painting and then it ended up stashed away.
A few weeks ago a collector reminded me of the painting and I dug it out to realize, how relevant the painting still is. The collector thought the painting was too scary to hang it in her house. I decided to go over it completely and bring it up to date. Here it is. It is my contribution to the discussion after Katrina and now. As long as one of us is still suffering, the work is not finished.
Ingrid Rudefors, Richard Hell and Viv Albertine mix it up in London and New York
Rudefors, Ingrid, Meanwhile On A Roof In Chinatown, Triangle Ranch Communications, Arlington, WA, 2015
Ingrid Rudefors is a writer, director and Stockholm film commissioner who divides her time between New York and Stockholm. Ingrid and I worked and played music together in the 80’s. Her first novel Meanwhile on a Roof in Chinatown is a story about a young Swedish women in a 90’s hot downtown NY summer, who gets a sudden visit by her mother escaping her unraveling marriage in suburban Sweden. Ms Rudefors gives you the outsider’s and the insider’s view of Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower Eastside. She gives you a variety of colorful characters, so it becomes easy to identify and you get sucked into the book as they are trying to deal with their lives that are all in different stages of upheaval. Besides the daughter trying to make it in the theatre, the professor finding herself in bed with a strange bird, or the mobster, the different neighborhoods become characters themselves and I am transported straight into Ingrid’s New York of strange twists and turns. Ingrid is also known for the 1990’s cult-short A Women’s Point Of View During Sex, and then of course for her rap on East Of Eden‘s 1984 Komm Zu Mir.
Hell, Richard, I Dreamed I Was A Clean Tramp, Harper Collins, 2014
It was Richard Hell with Tom Verlaine, who started the band Television and talked Hilly Christal to have original bands at CBGB”S. It is also Richard Hell, who is credited with the torn t-shirt look, the safety pins and the spiked hair. You might think he invented punkrock all by himself. Well, you’ll have to read his book. Like Tom Verlaine, Hell did reinvent him self during the heydays of New York’s decline, when President Ford told New York to Drop Dead! But this was a time of unprecedented creativity, which the art, music and fashion world feeds off to this very day, actually, especially today. Imagine, Punk, Disco, Hip Hop and Salsa all started in the same place at the same time. Indeed, it was Richard Hell, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Television, Lou Reed, William Burroughs, who send out the siren call that caused me to land there in May of 1978. Richard Hell, Patti Smith and Tom Verlaine were all writers first before they started bands and began changing the history of Rock’n Roll forever. Richard comes off a bit aloof at times. He is seems suspended between the more traditional male and the new man but is honest about it and certainly honed his writing skills over many years. I have not read a better account of how it feels to be on stage in a rock’n roll band. Richard still lives in the same rent controlled apartment in the East Village and writes. I met him early on when his band the Voidoids rehearsed in the same building I lived in with NYN and saw many shows enjoying Richard’s songwriting and the groundbreaking guitar work of Robert Quine and Ivan Julian, with whom I had the pleasure to become friends, play and record music later on.
Albertine, Viv, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys, St Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2014
The Slits was the name of the influential and under-appreciated all girl feminist punk band, the contemporaries of The Dammned, Sex Pistols, Clash, Siouxsie and Banshees, Subway Sect, etc. which shows, if you are less familiar with them than the other bands, how even in the history of punk the male voice sets the tone. Viv sets the record straight though. We examine the same period as described by Richard Hell, but from the British perspective. While Patti Smith, Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine came from a somewhat more intellectual background. Viv tells it from the heart of a post WWI British working class girl, the battle of how to do things in a feminine way, having to leave chauvinist BS, managers and even husbands behind in order to live the creative life. She writes as everything is happening in the present; it works and in the back of the book she lists, the clothes, the music and the boys from each period she talks about. I loved the title right from first sight and expected a light and fun read, and it is exactly that, except that we could ad Blood, Blood, Blood to the title since Liv also talks about chapters in her life after the band breaks up, the following struggles, marriage motherhood and battles of life and death and the eventual return to play guitar and song writing. The straight forwardness and honesty with which Liv lives and talks about these events makes this book one of the most powerful I have read in a long time. I am incredibly grateful to Liv.
Ingrid, Liv, Richard are my soul sisters and brother. We are from the tribe that have to leave our home, because it is stifling, restricted, close minded, we cannot sit in an office, we are not capable to climb the corporate ladder, when we shut down our creative impulse, our absolute drive for freedom, we become sick, depressed, addicts, angry, self destructive or just die. I’m not saying we are better. Some people can thrive in organized circumstance and I do believe that anyone harbors the arts inside, but some of us are not made for the world that many of us call reality. In the mid to late 70’s it was ok to be poor as a young artist in New York, Paris, Berlin, there was squatting, rents were cheap and the creative expression and the drive for freedom was our food more often than not. It does make for great stories.
PS: Today at almost 67, I struggle financially again and will sell art, guitars, books, clothes, fixie bike, vintage amps out of my studio all week and next weekend. Last weekend was pretty much washed out by the tropical storm Darby. Come by, taste some ayurvedic food, hang out and let’s talk story. If you don’t live on Oahu, call, write, skype, FB, linkedin. I’ll show you my stuff.
PS2: Here is a good post about my own early experience in NY.
Richard Hell’s Blank Generation is a groundbreaking song about inventing yourself. Listen to the lyrics and Robert Quine’s and Ivan Julian’s pioneering guitar work.
The Slits’ really invented themselves and their Typical Girls was their calling card.
I believe this Marvin Gaye cover was their first single.
….and while we’re kinda reaggaeish, here is my own German Komm Zu Mir again with Ingrid rapping in Swedish. That’s all folks. Love ya’ll
It is a magical place that I live in and out of, but the economic reality is stacked highly against the creative spirit. In order to pay my rent next month, to pay my car insurance, and to buy a car, mine is legally totaled after someone smashed into it, I invite you to an all day
open studio/art/books/jumble/sale This Sunday July 24th 2016 10 AM – 6:00 PM
Maybe I can live here a few more months. Lightening up my load will give me more flexibility to move, off island, a monastery? A job with a living wage? I have no idea and feel at the end of the road, of A road. I do own many beautiful objects, art, paintings, prints, neon, bikes, guitars, amps, power tools, vinyl records, leather jackets,….
Come and hang out, jump into the pool or take out the kajak, talk shop and buy some art for $ 3 – $ 300 or $ 3 000, or a rare book. I do have an 80’s edition of Matisse’s Jazz, or not so rare, or you might be looking for a guitar or a vintage amp (not cheap), a drum set? I’ll cook some ayurvedic food. BYOB
If you can’t make it or you’re far away, message, call, skype…….anyway you like.
I hope to see you this Sunday. With a big Aloha!
Impressions from my first few month in New York City via a newly discovered set of black and white images. you might like to scroll down to the bottom of this post to line-up a few killer songs that get you into the mood to feel the vibes of the city just a year after President Ford called New York to just drop dead. Enjoy!
Cleaning up a deep closet I found an envelop of color and black and white film negatives. I had never seen these and had no idea what was on them. Here are some of b/w ones. They are cover a couple of months till October 1978. Most of the photos were taken by Toni, my first female friend during that period, I assume on a point and shoot camera.
After an initial stint in Holly’s Hotel in Times Square, Aid Haid and Leo Faison from the band The New York Niggers had adopted me to live with them in their loft on Greenwich and Canal Street at the edge of Tribeca, an area with many loft spaces, small manufacturing and warehouses. 1977 was declared the worst year in the history of New York and this neighborhood was quite desolate and completely abandoned at night with a partially collapsed West Side Highway.
474 Greenwich St housed mostly bands, 5 living and about 8 rehearsing there with everything from progrock to punk, rock’n roll and art rock. Richard Hell and The Voidoids, Rhys Chatham, The New York Niggers, The Communists and others. The Ranch had 2 000 sq feet and was inhabited by Leo, Aid and often visited by Aid’s sister and brother. I was the only white person living there.
Aid was the first person I met in NYC, right at CBGB’s. The Pope (Leo Faison and Aid founded The New York Niggers. I initially joined the band on bass for a gig after which The Pope (Leo Faison) and Aid split up and Leo and I continued with various lineups until the spring of 1980, playing many gigs at CBGB’s Max’s, Irving Plaza, other clubs and some legendary parties at the NYN loft.
Iolsta was the a poet and lead singer of the Communist, who were great. We became good friends and after the band broke up Iolsta sang with us a couple of times. Iolsta was very stylish, the first woman in the city wearing her bra outside her clothes, years before Madonna.
Here are some photos of Toni and me exploring the city. I never found out Toni’s last name or were she lived. She just appeared and hang out with us for a few days, then was gone again. Toni was smart and fun and said that her father was a secret agent. My first secret agent black girlfriend always wore a hat.
Just above Times Square on 48th St was a row of music stores a heaven for musicians. Not that I could afford any guitars at this time, but it was always great eye candy and a year later I did buy a Gibson Les Paul Special, trading in my 62 Fender Tele, no inkling that these guitars would be quite valuable one day. We didn’t know and did not think much about further about the future than the next meal, the next gig…
We rehearsed every night till 10 and then hit the scene, drinking cheaper beer at The Grassroots on St Marks Place, and then went back and forth between CBGB’s and Max’s. On the weekend there were always parties somewhere.
These are the clothes I arrived in NY only a short time before. Black leather pants and a suit jacket from my dad.
The first gig with the new line-up, The Pope guit/voc, Loos Toulouse bass/voc (x Communist), Detour guit/voc and a drummer, whose name I can’t recall (there were many) was at Club Hollywood a disco on Second Ave around 12th. More and more bands demanded more places to play and all kind of clubs and bars jumped on the band wagon. NYN was an early band for a few places like St Marks Bar & Grill, where the Stones videoed Waiting for a Friend a few years later, TR3, where the Bad Brains had their first gig in NY a week after we played there, etc. Club Hollywood became the place were some of the early hip hop acts played when they first ventured downtown and I caught Africa Bambata there. Remember that NY wasn’t only the hotbed for punk and new wave, but Hip Hop, Disco and Salsa all exploded here at the same time.
I was a huge Patti Smith fan and the shoes were still the same I had arrived in from Germany via Paris and London and still my only pair. Remember Run DMC wasn’t around yet. While I might look stylish, I was dead poor often going days with no or little food eventually acquiring bleeding gums.
The music scene was still small enough that every body new every one else and bands were quite friendly with each other. It was a very inclusive scene, no matter when or where you came from. It was only in NY that I began to be ok with being German. When I grew up we had rejected everything German since its was our parents generation that had allowed the Nazi atrocities to happen or participated in it. My first big impression of America was that it was ok to do whatever you wanted to: “Just go for it!” the empire state of mind, at least in the city.
Coda: Here are a few more blogs about this time. There are some overlaps, since I received some of the material years apart. And if you didn’t yet check out the songs below.
In which I arrive on 42nd Street via the Boulevard Montparnasse, Portobello Road, a $99 flight and two days later, go straight to Rock’n Roll Heaven.
In which the Pope and I set the NYN reset button, I get a crash course in American culture and drink champagne from a fountain.
In which we record a single, have to move, hang out with Yoko Ono and play with the Plasmatics on Halloween.
In which we dig deep, with a help from a friend, into life at the NYN loft, the people and Tribeca’s desolate landscape in the late 70’s.
in which we continue to show life in lower Manhattan in a time when President Ford tells New York to Drop Dead.
Songs: Great live version of the Doll’s most famous song.
These guys rehearsed down stairs from us and always borrowed some equipment from us, so we were always on the guest list. One of the defining songs of the era. I was fortunate to play and record with Ivan Julian later on. For more on that.
The Dead Boys had moved to NY from Akron Ohio and this song had been big with us in Germany already.
Well, we can’t forget about this one of course. The one and only. The original 7″ fetches up to $ 500 now. Re-issue available through yours truly.
Yes, we all were made to believe that Disco sucks. When I worked at Canal Jean the work force was completely integrated and we listened to the rock station in the morning and funk and disco in the afternoon, a fantastic education. In desolate, tough, dangerous NY Good Times could be had.
…or what do I do in between Kurt Vonnegut and Martin Walser?
In the fall of 1979 a small little known band in New York City put out a 7″ single with a white dust sleeve and no cover. In the spring of 2015, some 35 years later, the record, photos and a poster of the band with the lyrics of one of the songs appears in the exhibition Schlachthoff 5, DRESDENS’S ZERSTOERUNG IN LITERARISCHEN ZEUGNISSEN (Slaughterhouse 5, Dresden’s Destruction in Literary Records) in the Militaer Historisches Museum Dresden (Military History Museum
How does a simple rock’n roll song gets mixed up with literary giants? It begins with the very first song that I wrote which has the title “Just Like Dresden 45,” and which I performed and eventually produced and recorded together with Leo Faison in our band that was called the New York Niggers. The 1 000 records printed, with no or little promotion, scant airplay, some jukebox appearances and the end of the band a year later, the single developed a life of its own, got bootlegged, put on youtube and is collected with prices fetching up to $ 500.
A shroud of mystery developed around the record and the band over the years and every once in a while somebody contacts me from somewhere around the planet wanting to know more about the band or find out if I have any records left. In 2008 I decided to reissue the single as part of my MFA Thesis Exhibition at the University of Hawaii. This time it got a letter press cover based on a painting that was part of my thesis. 250/500 have the cover and are numbered. They are available.
In 2012 Eric Cecil, a young New York DJ researches the band, interviews me and publishes the best history of the band so far in Human Being Lawnmower # 3. Then in 2014 Ansgar Snethlage, the curator of the Schlachthof 5 exhibition contacts me and I send him material to use in the show. A year later the show is on and a 368 page catalog eventually comes in the mail. This catalog is well written and meticulously researched, with many photos of the city, paintings, drawings, letters and the stories of the different artists, who appeared in the show. The last 150 pages are dedicated the the different artists and their work that appeared in the show. I am humbled to find myself right between Kurt Vonnegut and Martin Walser. Looking back at the time when I wrote the song it to appear in a museum show along with all these artists and literary giants completely blows my mind, “Just Like Dresden 45.”
The catalog entry not written but translated by the author from German: “The first lines of “Just Like Dresden 45” were still written in Germany. Born in 1949 in Hannover, Dieter Runge was a member of the counter culture during the early 1970’s in his hometown and played rhythm guitar since 1977 with Rotz Kotz an early German punk band. But already in 1978 he went to New York, where he recorded the song in march 1979 as part of the first single by the New York Niggers (edition 1 000). Musically, “Just Like Dresden 45” is inspired by Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life”1, raw Punk Rock in between Detroit Sound and the typical 70’s punk.
The single got positive critical reviews. The British Radio DL and pop expert David Peel played the song several times in his BBC show. The single got little airplay in the US, because of the controversial band name, even though the name was consciously chosen: two afro Americans had founded the band. The insulting name “Nigger” stood also as a metaphor for all suppressed people (just like “Rock’n Roll Nigger” by Patti Smith). Last but not least, was this breaking of taboo, typical for punk, meant to provoke.
The New York Niggers had some success in New York, but the music industry was not interested. Finally, the band disbanded after Runge quit. Runge, immersed himself into the East Village art and music scene and moved to the Virgin Island in the late 80’s and finally to Hawaii, where he lives today as independent artist, yoga and taiji teacher.
The most famous song by the New York Niggers, “Just Like Dresden 45”, plays, just like the band name, with provocation and “irrefuehrung” (to lead astray). It is not about the destruction of Dresden 1945, but mostly about the destruction of the soul of the bored and disappointed individual. Live is without meaning and empty, the contradictions of existence destroy the mind: “My brain catch fire just like Dresden 45. The banalization of “Dresden 45″serves as breaking of taboo.
Runge’s experiences in New York also gained entry into the song text. It was difficult for the young German without money and sometime without a steady home, to express his own feelings in English in the beginning. The party drug speed surpasses tiredness and can lead to a short term energy boost, which leaves the consumer burned out at the end. In this song speed stands for a “Lebensgefuehl” (life feeling) of the late 70’s that is only comparable to “Dresden”.
It is a truly a deep and satisfying experience to learn that a simple rock’n roll song, my very first, 35 years later through the intelligent reflection and presentation, can be elevated and seen as a true piece of art and put in context of history and other artists who I admire.
Long before I ever took an art class I was making posters, my early ones as a young boy scout, then as a political activist and finally as punk rocker and rock’n roller, promoting shows of my bands. Just as we google today we were making xerox copies then. What I call Xerox Art here, also included collages and fanzines besides posters or flyer. Is a flyer an 8 1’2’ x 11” and a poster an 11” x 17”? What about 8 1/2” x 17” ? It doesn’t really matter, but these were the formats used; what is important was a fast, irreverent and cheap way to create and fit the activity promoted. It wasn’t serious art for sure, but part of promoting a political idea or a band. Not too much thought was spend on the aesthetic, which only fully came alive when 20, 30 or 50 posters showed up in one spot.
Once the poster was Xeroxed an equal amount of activity was spend with a brush and a bucket of wheat paste, plastering the posters all over town or at least the important spots. This activity often pushed the border of legality and delicate decisions had to be made as to whose posters we were plastering over.
The earliest pieces in this collection are from a punk performance at the closing ceremony of the 1977 Documenta and from one of the first German Punkrock bands called Rotz Kotz. There are no flyers from this group, since we actually had a two color offset printed poster that we used for or all our gigs, writing in the actual date and place with magic marker. This poster was a derive of the flyer that hung in every German post office looking for members of the leftist RAF.
We replaced the machinegun in the group’s logo with a guitar and replaced the faces with those of the band. More pictures and stories about these times at the bottom of each section: Punk Poesie, the 70’s too
Kicked out of Rotz Kotz for hitting some wrong chords I arrived in New York City on May 5th 1978, with a $ 99 one way ticket on Laker Airlines. Three weeks later I moved into the loft of the New York Niggers and shortly after joined the band. Here things were decidedly more low-budged, which you can see by the size and quality of the flyers. The New York Niggers recorded one 7” single, that sells for up to $ 500 now and lasted until the spring of 1980. New York, Rookie YearVintage 79
Xerox collage of my first gig with NYN
Several bands followed the NYN break-up, The Troubadors, Festival of Patience, Nada and a smaller side project called European Sons. By this time I had a steady job at the Trash & Vaudevile, the foremost Rock’n Roll clothing store at that time and flyer formats changed, color paper was used more often, I was able to by books again and my reading as well as listening pleasures trickled into the poster designs.
flyer for first NADA show at CBGB’s
More about this time: Eighty one, two, three
By 1984 I had written enough songs to put a new band together and by now I was able pull in some great East Village musicians. Between 1984 and 1988 East of Eden played out, record and released a single and an album and shot some super 8 b/w videos, all with changing lineups. Many EOE flyers were larger and I developed a flyer style of sorts, a mix a primitive drawing and collage, that was echoed in the single cover. My favorite flyer though is the Rock’n Roll Revelation poster that I transformed into a woodblock in 2005.
A magazine page, a pair of scissors, or ripped by hand some letters maybe, a typewriter, magic marker, glue and off to the copyshop.
With scissors, glue and Chuck Berry, NYC ca 1981-83
Kaneohe, August 2015
How do I arrive at an image to paint? It can be an idea; a concept, a person, nature or a photograph just comes my way. No matter how or what, the antennas have to be tuned to receive. When I hang out with my friend Stephen Whitesell, a great photographer we often go through his photos. I only need to see a photo for a split second when I know that I love to paint it. So it was with one of Stephen’s photos, a set of waves rolling, in lit up by the setting sun.
Throughout the years I have painted or printed the surface of water. I have spent years looking at water, as a sailor, windsurfer, kite surfer or just for contemplation and I can’t imagine not living close to water. For nearly 40 years now I have lived on islands, water on all sides. I teach taiji on a peninsula in Kaneohe Bay, water on three sides. As a competitive sailor and windsurfer I learned how to read water to take advantage of its surface, wind gusts and shifts. Kitesurfing on Oahu’s north shore I am absorbed with watching the next set of waves emerging. Water surface is constantly changed by wind, the lack of it, currents and tides. My first look at the water every morning includes becoming aware in which direction the anchored boats point. Immersed in the creation of wind and water I feel most comfortable and alive.
When we look at water we take in the result of the influences of light, wind, reflections of trees, clouds, mountains. Water’s power in storms, tsunamis and floods is amongst the most awesome manifestations of nature’s power that we can experience. When we drink clear water or let it run over our skin or swim in it, we feel its blessings in most wonderful ways. When the waves calm after we throw a rock on still water, we can reflect on how our mind calms during meditation. Bruce Lee expressed his Daoist influenced philosophy like this: “Empty your Mind, be shapeless, formless….water can flow, water can crash, be like water my friend.”
After studying Daoism and taiji for more than 30 years and having done water sports even longer, all these things are on my mind when I paint water. As a painter I moved from abstract, expressionist, futurist inspired approaches through tight, realist portraits, flowers, landscapes to the desire to combine different techniques, brushstrokes, palette knives all in one painting and to paint……… like water, crashing occasionally, but mostly flowing, being like water, combine realism and abstraction in one swift motion.
When I started the Gold Waves painting, the linen surface was covered with several layers of oil paint from an attempt at depicting a reflection of mangroves on relatively calm water with small ripples. I had done a similar painting before, but in this one I could not establish the rhythm that I was looking for. Meanwhile I had piled on quite a bit of paint, some little hills of oil. These marks were completely unrelated to the new painting. When water hits an obstacle, it moves around it. The imagination works just like water; it finds a way to flow around an obstacle. I took the unevenness of the canvas as invitation to paint with freedom and abandonment, to pull and push the paint over the obstacles and let it flow. I worked with a limited palette, black white, red, yellow and some gold, and used brushes and palette knife, pushing, pulling letting it flow. This doesn’t mean that it was easy, but there was no real struggle. Towards the end I don’t look at the source photograph anymore. The painting has taken on its own identity; it has come alive. I made adjustments and added layer after layer until the painting told me that it was done, after 3 1/2 months.
It doesn’t matter if my inspiration comes from “running after a flock of wild geese” or “a date with Botticelli’s niece”, it is always freedom that I seek and this is how it feels, “when I paint my masterpiece.”
Quotes in italic from Bob Dylan, When I paint my masterpiece.
Since the response to the painting has been so great, I have decided to make giclees available. They come in three different sizes:
50″ x 64″ (127 x 163 cm) original size
25″ x 32″ (64 x 81 cm) half size,
12.5″ x 16″ (32 x 41 cm) quarter size and three different ways:
Das historische Punk-Archiv
Writer & Massage Therapist
Shedding Light in the Darkness
Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.
Festival of Patience